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healthcare in the Democratic Republic of the CongoOne of the biggest challenges facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo is its healthcare system. The country faces many barriers to adequate healthcare, such as low funding, systematic and structural difficulties, poverty, proper treatment and testing, education and more. However, many organizations worldwide are working to improve healthcare in the country through direct aid and legislation.

The Problems with the Healthcare System in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The healthcare system lacks investment and funding. As a result, it is difficult for the country to combat prevalent healthcare issues, such as infectious diseases. It also provides obstacles to combatting more pervasive issues such as infant and mother mortality rates. According to the CDC, the top causes of death in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are “malaria, lower respiratory infections, neonatal disorders and tuberculosis.”

Many of these issues are preventable. However, as of 2017, the Democratic Republic of the Congo only dedicated 3.98% of GDP to healthcare. In comparison, the U.S. dedicated 17.06% to healthcare. Healthcare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo requires consistent funding and resources to ameliorate and reduce these problems; without increased investment, these healthcare problems will only continue to persist.

Furthermore, the WHO states that another complication facing the healthcare system is a lack of resources. The healthcare facilities that are up and running are “often poorly maintained” and difficult to access. Moreover, many communities throughout the country are isolated and spread out. For example, the WHO states that 80% of cholera patients are displaced throughout the country. With these patients vastly spread out, it becomes harder and harder to treat and reduce the impact of cholera. Additionally, traveling from one area to the next present difficulties because of damaged and underdeveloped roads, which introduces another barrier to proper treatment.

Therefore, it becomes increasingly difficult for citizens to even obtain access to healthcare clinics and/or hospitals. Factoring in violence and displacement, lack of food and healthy drinking water and extreme poverty conditions, healthcare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s is in dire need of support and aid.

What Organizations are Doing to Help

With that said, what are other countries and organizations doing to help the Democratic Republic of the Congo? There are many organizations around the world working to reduce global poverty and improve healthcare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other struggling countries. The focus herein are direct, firsthand efforts from organizations such as USAID, the CDC and WHO.

  • The WHO is actively trying to obtain accurate information about population and health in order to properly provide solutions for certain problems. For example, the WHO seeks to obtain information about issues, such as infant mortality rate and the necessary vaccines. Then, they modernize this information by implementing new technology and software to ensure that the data is upkept, accurate and transformative.
  • USAID is training local citizens and communities on proper healthcare treatment and issues. USAID helps these citizens utilize “locally available resources” to treat the pervasive health issues specific to the country. Additionally, USAID also seeks to increase education by providing scholarships to people to pursue comprehensive medical education. USAID also strives to increase funding and investment for healthcare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The CDC has sent more than two million testing kits and thousands of vaccines/treatments to combat a multitude of issues such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, influenza and infections. Additionally, they have also increased the number of healthcare clinics and other testing and treatment sites across the country. These sites now include five new “sentinel sites for influenza and other infections”.

Moving Forward

Furthermore, advocacy organizations push federal legislation focused on reducing poverty and improving healthcare systems across the world. Equally important, these continual and consistent efforts prioritize allocation of U.S. foreign aid towards these economically struggling countries.

Overall, healthcare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, underfunded for many years, still requires intense rebuilding and change. However, many organizations across the world are understanding these healthcare issues and taking action to help. While much more progress must occur in order to ensure a stable, successful healthcare system, the progress that is currently underway should not be overlooked.

– Sophia McWilliams 
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in DRCThe Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a nation in Central Africa with a population of nearly 80 million people, the vast majority of whom live below the global poverty line. While statistics are hard to come by due to the nature of the DRC, there are estimates that nearly 80% of the country’s population lives in extreme poverty. The DRC consistently ranks as one of the world’s poorest, least stable and most underdeveloped countries.

How Has This Happened?

The DRC’s current poverty and instability are rooted in its decades-long history of violence, mismanagement and corruption. This dates back to the colonial era when millions died due to the abuses committed by the Belgian colonial administration. Immediately after declaring independence from Belgium, the so-called Congo Crisis caused more woes for the nation. Even their independence would not stop interference from Europe.

Mobutu Sese Seko took power after the Congo Crisis. He made the country into a one-party dictatorship with widespread corruption, funneling money out of the DRC, and into his own inner circle. Poverty in the DRC grew significantly worse as Seko and his inner circle grew wealthier. His regime was kept afloat by his cult of personality and Cold War foreign aid, both of which dried up in the 1990s. This “drying up” resulted in two devastating wars, both of which increased poverty in the DRC.

The Longevity of Poverty in the DRC

The country began reconstruction in the mid-2000s, in an effort to tackle the growing poverty following the Congo Wars. Despite poverty reductions in some areas of the country – particularly urban ones – recovery efforts did not reduce the overall poverty levels in the country between 2005 and 2012. Roughly two-thirds of the population of the DRC remained in poverty.

Today the DRC is one of the world’s poorest nations, with stunted economic growth and poor development. According to the World Bank, poverty in the DRC is so severe that roughly half of children grow up malnourished, with most lacking access to education. The longevity of this poverty has resulted in a scarcity of drinking water and limited access to proper sanitation. These conditions are present even more often in rural areas. The present COVID-19 epidemic has only made the situation in the DRC more hazardous, especially for those in poverty.

NGO Work in the DRC

While poverty in the DRC may seem insurmountable, there are hundreds of nonprofit agencies working to help in the region. The Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, or CARE, is a nonprofit NGO (non-governmental organization), dedicated to reducing poverty worldwide. They work alongside the Congolese government to provide aid.

With 12.8 million Congolese in need of urgent assistance, NGO work is more important than ever. In a country like the DRC, where poverty is so extreme, the humanitarian actions of CARE have made an important difference. This NGO has provided food security to thousands of people and assisted thousands of women to gain access to economic and health resources.

CARE is one of the hundreds of NGOs operating in the DRC that rely on donations to make a difference. Poverty in the DRC is too massive for any singular NGO to tackle. The combined efforts of multiple groups are needed. When poverty is so widespread, a widespread response is warranted.

Matthew Bado
Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Congo

Despite its vast material wealth, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has long been a very poor nation. Beneath its surface lies about $24 trillion in minerals, but this treasure has so far done nothing to alleviate poverty in this country. Half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, living on less than $1 a day, especially those in rural communities. There is no single reason, but there are several causes of poverty in Congo that can be identified.

In rural areas, there has often been a lack of investment in basic infrastructure, such as roads, making transportation costs high. Farming methods are often antiquated and inefficient. Finally, there is a general lack of investment on the part of the government and the private sector in rural Congo.

Disease has always been one of the biggest causes of poverty in Congo. There were about 6.7 million reported cases of malaria in 2009, which is especially deadly to children. Cholera outbreaks are frequent. HIV/AIDS affects 5.3 percent of Congolese. Congo’s healthcare system is anemic, with hospitals often understaffed and underequipped.

The mining industry in Congo is particularly corrupt and is one of the largest causes of poverty in Congo. The precious metals mined in the Congo are necessary for a lot of technology taken for granted in the west: smartphones, computers, etc. Many foreign investors in the mining sector end up signing billion-dollar contracts with parties funding armed paramilitary groups, who siphoned some $185 million in 2008 from mining deals. The Congolese army is also dependent on funding from valuable minerals.

There has been some recent pushback against corruption in the Congolese mining industry. #Standwithcongo was launched by activist JD Steir with Robin Wright of House of Cards fame to get mining companies to disclose owners of the offshore shell companies involved with these mining deals.

Additionally, the Congolese army has been successful in pushing back the rebel M23 faction, creating peace in the region and eliminating at least one of the factions that profits from the corrupt mining industry.
The United States has not been silent on the matter either  The U.S. Financial Reform Act, also known as Dodd-Frank, requires companies whose products contain certain minerals to disclose whether or not those minerals came from the Congo, and show what steps they took to ensure such trade was not financing armed groups.  The Department of State has cooperated with Congo’s government and mining sector to establish supply chains for conflict-free minerals being mined in the eastern part of the country.
The causes of poverty in Congo are myriad, but there have been signs of improvement, thanks in part to the actions of the United States, unlikely activists and Congo’s own desire to see a new day.

Andrew Revord
Photo: Flickr

Hundreds of Thousands Children Return to School in the Greater Kasai Region

The Greater Kasai region is one of 26 provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Beginning in August 2016, it was the scene of a local conflict between the Congolese government and a traditional leader of the region, who was later killed while fighting with security forces. The local conflict, however, turned into a confrontation between militias and government security forces, which led to violence and instability among the entire Kasai region.

The violence within the region also had a major impact on the education of tens of thousands of children. UNICEF announced a total of 440,000 children in the five most affected provinces of the Kasai region, who were unable to finish the school year and complete their education because of insecurity. With more than 400 schools attacked, parents are resistant to keep sending their children to school, leading to more than 150,000 children missing out on education.

Conflicts have also affected health systems within the region, as one in three health centers got destroyed, increasing the risks of disease among children. The main goal was then to help hundreds of thousands of children return to school in the Greater Kasai region. UNICEF started a campaign and achieved this goal at the start of the 2017 school year.

In addition to encouraging parents to get their children back into the classroom, this campaign allowed for the distribution of school materials for children and training for a total of 2,750 teachers in peace-education and psychosocial support. This back-to-school campaign has also raised awareness among communities regarding the risks within the classroom that are related to mines and war remnants.

UNICEF has also responded to the Greater Kasai region with other major projects geared toward health, nutrition, protection and education. Previously detained in the Kasai region, 384 children were released through the help of UNICEF, as well.

As hundreds of thousands of children return to school in the Greater Kasai region, hope for a better future returns in terms of education, safety and healthcare. As violence decreases and peace makes a fragile return, the Kasai region is on a better path for success.

Sarah Soutoul

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in The Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country located in Central Africa and has a population of 69.6 million people. With a GDP per capita of $753, the DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world. Half the country’s population lives below the poverty line, and most of the nation’s poor lives in rural areas, working as farmers and fishers. Common diseases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are also a major plight.

From 1997 to 2003, the country was engulfed in a civil war, and other African countries also became involved. The war’s central cause was a desire for possession over the DRC’s mineral wealth, water and food. It also gravely damaged the DRC’s infrastructure. Today, there is still violence due to political instability, which makes it difficult for aid workers to access the area.

Additionally, a multitude of diseases devastates the nation. Common diseases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo include malaria, diarrheal diseases from lack of clean water, measles and cholera.

Both diarrhea and cholera in the DRC stem from a lack of adequate sanitation and safe water. In the DRC, less than 25% of people have access to clean water. Cholera outbreaks occur frequently.

The country has seen an epidemic of measles, as well, and NGOs like Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders (MSF), have vaccinated millions of children. Malaria is yet another major problem and is the leading cause of death in the DRC.

Many NGOs have stepped in to help the Congolese. The area also suffers from a lack of hospital equipment and a shortage of staff. MSF has built treatment centers for cholera, and UNICEF has created the Healthy Villages program. This program aims to bring better sanitation and safe water to villages. Currently, 3,275 villages in the DRC are taking part in the Healthy Villages program.

MSF has addressed the problem of malaria by offering support to seven health centers with the aim of treating common diseases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) actively fights against malaria in the DRC under the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). It provides the Congolese people with long-lasting mosquito nets, prevents women from developing malaria while pregnant and improves the care of infected patients.

Anna Gargiulo

Photo: Flickr

hunger in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Despite recent economic growth, millions of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) experience severe malnutrition, chronic food insecurity and inadequate housing.

Following the 2009 global economic slump, the DRC has performed at an exceptional rate compared to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. During 2010-2014, the country posted an average GDP growth rate of 7.7 percent.

The impressive economic output is ascribed to a robust export-based economy, along with renewed public investment from domestic and international sources.

Although the DRC has reduced poverty by eight percent since 2005, it is still marked as one of the poorest and most poverty-stricken countries in the globe.

The acute conditions are attributed to a legacy of political upheaval, economic mismanagement and localized conflict since independence in the 1960s.

Resources that should have provided the solution to hunger in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were misappropriated during the period from 1965-1997 under Joseph Mobutu Sese Seko. Furthermore, nutritional crises were not prioritized as the Second Congo War consumed the country.

Consequently, hunger in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has festered to a critical rate. Nearly half of the country’s children under five are stunted; 3 million children under five years of age suffer from acute malnutrition and 47 percent of children under the age of five and 38 percent of women suffer from anemia.

Since 2010, the World Bank has collaborated with the DRC government to implement economic reform, which includes increased transparency measures through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Reforms also aim to reduce hunger in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by increasing its capacity to effectively disperse the most basic of provisional goods — water and food.

Although the economic improvements bring a renewed sense of hope, it is unlikely that the acute issue of malnutrition will be resolved until the systemic failures of Congolese security are addressed.

About 70 million hectares of arable land is besieged by conflict. Making an earnest effort to resolve hunger in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at best bleak without an equally serious effort to remove conflict from the country.

Adam George

Photo: Flickr

Yellow Fever in the DRC
While mosquito bites are rarely more than a summer nuisance for the average American, they can be carriers of dangerous illnesses. This year, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing an outbreak of yellow fever.

By August, there were 5,000 suspected cases and 400 reported deaths across the DRC and Angola. Yellow fever is difficult to diagnose because symptoms closely resemble other illnesses and vary from patient to patient.

Fortunately, World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Union announced that they have created a mobile lab to quickly diagnose and vaccinate people to stop the disease in the DRC.

The mobile lab was dispatched in mid-July with five technicians from Italy and Germany. Quick, accurate blood tests are crucial.

This mosquito-transmitted disease can become so prolific because most infected people never show symptoms, and risk exporting the illness or continuing to allow mosquitoes to spread it in crowded subtropical areas. Now tests can be done on site, which reduces the time wasted for transporting samples.

Those who develop symptoms after the incubation period experience fever, chills, aches, nausea and weakness. Unfortunately, 15 percent of people develop a serious form of the disease that leads to bleeding, jaundice, organ failure and death in 20 to 50 percent of cases. There is no cure, only prevention and palliative treatment.

The technicians have a tough job because of the sheer number of people affected by yellow fever in the DRC. Unfortunately, preventative measures like bug repellent and protective clothing only go so far against the persistent parasite.

The good news is a vaccine that provides lifelong immunity exists. To keep the disease out of the DRC, visitors are required to get the vaccine before entering the country.

The bad news is that the vaccine is expensive and the epidemic is straining the supply. Currently, there are only 6 million doses of the vaccine and it will take a year to make more. Reuters ominously reports that time and resources are not on the EU’s side in the face of this epidemic.

WHO and the EU remain positive. The mobile labs can get results to 50 to 100 people in a day. WHO is training lab technicians in DRC and Angola to continue accurate testing after the EU’s program ends.

Dr. Formerly explains, “Aside from getting patients on the right treatment, faster diagnosis helps to plan the response better, such as identifying where to conduct mass vaccination campaigns in the affected countries.”

Mass vaccinations have been effective in slowing the spread and tests will help. Without a cure, prevention is the only way to stop the disease.

The EU and WHO have been splitting each dose into fifths. While this does not provide lifelong immunity to yellow fever that the full vaccine provides, it does protect recipients for a year. The mobile lab program is a great step towards ending this epidemic.

Jeanette I. Burke

Photo: Flickr

Uganda Refugees
A landlocked country located between Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda is an East African Nation that has been constantly plagued by violence. Since gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1962, the Ugandan people have been forced to deal with dictatorships, military coups, wars and a 20-year insurgency from the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The nations that border the country of Uganda are additionally tormented with instability and violence which have pushed many people into the country.

Here are 10 interesting facts that you may not know about Uganda refugees:

  1. As of 2016, there are 512,000 documented asylum seekers and refugees in the country of Uganda.
  2. Uganda refugees are slowly outnumbering the current citizen population within Uganda. In Uganda, areas like the Adjumani district expect to see the number of people seeking refuge in the country exceed the number of local inhabitants.
  3. Local farmers are in conflict with Uganda refugees. With Uganda refugee populations increasing every day, many farmers find themselves with little land to grow crops. This is due in part to the fact that the government takes portions of land from farmers in order to make room for the incoming people. This seizing of land for asylum seekers creates internal conflicts between local farmers and people seeking refuge.
  4. Roughly 85% of refugees entering the country are women and children.
  5. Migration into cities has left Uganda refugees at a cultural disadvantage. Although Uganda has warmly welcomed people seeking refuge, cultural barriers still pose a major obstacle to Uganda refugees. Barriers such as language, adapting to Uganda’s culture, stereotypes and general safety simultaneously affect the everyday lives of Uganda refugees.
  6. Uganda has hosted approximately 550,000 refugees as of July 2016. Of the 550,000 refugees, 315,000 are asylum seekers from South Sudan, while an additional 200,000 individuals are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  7. Uganda does not question or interrogate people seeking refuge. With constant violence on the borders of Uganda, millions of people have fled their countries in order to escape unimaginable horrors.
  8. The U.N. Refugee Agency has acknowledged the nation of Uganda as having exceptional policies regarding refugees. In 2006, the country passed a Refugee act that provided refugees with employment, education, right to property, dignity and overall self-sufficiency; Uganda implemented policies that allow people seeking refuge to work in order to contribute to the nation’s economy.
  9. The continuity of violence in areas, like South Sudan, increased refugee migration into Uganda, which has overwhelmed local aid agencies. Overcrowding has become a serious issue in areas like Adjumani, which is home to the Nyumanzi reception center for refugees, as a result. The reception center is supposed to host up to 3,500 individuals; however, overcrowding in Nyumanzi has led to over 8,000 people residing at the reception center.
  10. There are many Uganda refugees that still cling to the idea that they are able to return home and resume the life they once had. A quote from a refugee who fled from Burundi, Cedric Mugisha, states, “In Burundi, I have a life, my life was promising. I miss my family, I don’t know where they are, and I don’t know what happened to my friends.”

Though many refugees have experienced tremendous hardships and trials while fleeing from their homes to Uganda, many positive efforts are underway in order to improve their quality of life. The Uganda government and humanitarian organizations, such as the U.N. Refugee Agency, are continuously providing aid and support for the many Uganda refugees.

Shannon Warren

world_globe_borgen_africa
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)—a country currently at the bottom of the Human Development Index—the sentencing of Germain Katanga at the International Criminal Court (ICC) this past week has brought mixed reactions.

The Court convicted the former commander of the Forces de Résistance for his role in the February 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro in North-Eastern DRC that resulted in the deaths of over 200 people.

Conflict has consumed this area of the DRC, and more specifically the Ituri region, for years. The power struggle stems from the drive to control the local natural resources, namely gold. Approximately 130,000-150,000 persons in Ituri alone mine gold, often working over 12 hours a day.

High gold taxes and exploitation of small-scale miners prevents many from achieving a decent standard of living. This, in partnership with low agricultural production, produces hunger throughout the population.

Of the two convictions the ICC has realized since its inception, both defendants committed their crimes in Ituri. Critics of the Court point to the prevalence of indicted African leaders as an example of political influence. The failure to enforce their indictments, as in the case of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, has weakened the Court’s credibility.

Signatory states to the ICC’s Rome Statute can also refer certain cases to the Office of the Prosecutor, which means governments may use the Court as a weapon against political opponents rather than a source of justice. Critics have also questioned the influence of the West on the Court, considering 60 percent of ICC funding comes from the European Union.

The ICC appears to be arriving at a crossroads between political showcase and legitimate enforcer of the law. Were the Court to gain its intended footing on the international stage, it would have the opportunity to affect change in the DRC. Deterrence aside, criminal trials allow victims to finally describe their experiences, which can help in the process of national reconciliation.

Implementing law promotes the stability that could do little to harm an economy destroyed by years of warfare. Each trial brings media coverage that can be harnessed to advocate for aid to the DRC. Regardless, the relationship between the ICC and the DRC will be interesting to watch in the coming years.

– Erica Lignell

Sources: Brookings, European Commission, International Policy Digest, IRIN, La Presse, World Bank

liberia-health-care
The World’s Health Organization (WHO) ranked the world’s health systems in the year 2000. WHO ranked Liberia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Myanmar as the top 5 countries in need of better healthcare and as the nations with the lowest healthcare quality. While these nations have undergone reforms since the 2000 assessment, they continue to face critical healthcare obstacles. The countries are listed in descending order based on the World’s Health Organization Ranking of the World’s Health Systems. 

 

Top 5 Countries in Need of Better Healthcare

 

1. Liberia

According to Doctors Without Borders, Liberians suffer from epidemic disease, social violence and healthcare exclusion. During the past twelve years, Liberia’s Ministry of Health has taken steps to address healthcare issues but disease and access to adequate healthcare remain crucial issues in the country. In March 2014, the media announced an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia, suggesting epidemic disease continues to be a primary healthcare concern.  Liberian health authorities expressed a concern over the virus spreading to other countries while attempting to quell public panic. Furthermore, access to sufficient healthcare and healthcare equipment remains limited. In a 2012 Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation report, Jocelyne Lapointe stated that Liberia has only one medical center, John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center (JFKH), with up-to-date medical imaging systems. JFKH has a modern CT scanner, ultrasound and x-ray equipment. However, the hospital does not have adequate staffing to install and operate all the imaging equipment and desperately seeks the aid of radiologists.

 

2. Nigeria

Nigeria also suffers from epidemic diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and typhoid which affect a large portion of the population. The lack of government aid in response to these diseases has led to distrust in government healthcare initiatives.  The Guardian’s September 2013 article, “The toughest job in Nigerian healthcare,” Dr. Ado Jimada Gana Muhammad, the chief executive of Nigeria’s National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, stated, “If customers – I call patients ‘customers’ – attend a health facility and the level of care is not what he or she expects the confidence is eroded even further.” Muhammad strives to reinstate Nigerians’ lost trust in the healthcare system, hoping that the public will become consumers of recent additions to the system, including better access to vaccinations and new distribution of resources.  In April 2014, Nigeria’s National Health Bill will attempt to revitalize the country’s healthcare system via a $380 million pledge. The bill will focus on primary healthcare, offering free healthcare to many Nigerians.

 

3. Democratic Republic of the Congo

A 2013 IRIN News article, “Boost for healthcare in DRC,” stated, “Civil war has destroyed much of the country’s health infrastructure, as well as the road networks and vital services such as electricity, meaning patients often have to travel long distances to health centers that may not be equipped to handle their complications.” In a country with high rates of infant/maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, malaria and sexual violence, access to medical care plays an essential role in the success of the country’s healthcare system. Currently, a British program, providing $179 million to the country, is attempting to help six million people in the Congo access healthcare.

 

4. Central African Republic

Lack of healthcare access and healthcare workers plague Central African Republic. After a 2010 rebel attack, volunteer medical workers fled dangerous regions of the country. Thus, large portions of the country’s population have been cut off from all medical resources. Furthermore, an IRIN News article, “Central African Republic: Struggling for healthcare,” states, “Since 2008, the government has spent only 1.5% of GDP on public health, hence its dependency on some 19 medical NGOs to provide drugs and medical equipment and improve the skills of health workers.” For the people of Central African Republic, health care depends on NGO’s rather than the government and therefore, when NGO workers do not feel safe in the country, the healthcare system suffers drastically. IRIN news also noted that vaccination coverage dropped with NGO displacement. The government needs to increase healthcare funding or increase safety measures for medical volunteers to improve the ailing healthcare system.

 

5. Myanmar

Despite Myanmar’s history of wealth via international trade, Myanmar’s economy has changed significantly in recent years. Poor road infrastructure and low government contribution to healthcare systems has led to healthcare inaccessibility for a large portion of the nation’s population. According to the Burnet Institute, an organization that conducts research on public health in Myanmar, the country has high rates of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. Ten percent of the population suffers from HIV and tuberculosis simultaneously.  Myanmar needs more government funding and outside support from other nations to establish an effective healthcare system and build access to healthcare centers.

– Jaclyn Ambrecht

Sources: Think Africa Press, Burnet Institute, Doctors Without Borders, IRIN News, IRIN News, KBNF, The Guardian, The Inquirer, WHO
Photo: International Rescue Committee